‘My pals pitched in to save my life’

From left: Chris Collins, Will Edgar-Gibson, Matt Grenham and assistant headteacher Matt Wardle
From left: Chris Collins, Will Edgar-Gibson, Matt Grenham and assistant headteacher Matt Wardle

A pupil whose life was saved by two of his pals has returned to school for the first time since collapsing from a heart attack on the rugby pitch.

Will Edgar-Gibson, 15, was fighting for his life having just scored a try in a PE lesson rugby match at The Buckingham School.

The Buckingham School lifesavers. From the left, Chris Collins, Will Edgar-Gibson, Matthew Grenham, pupils and Matt Wardle, sports master. PNL-150801-112411009

The Buckingham School lifesavers. From the left, Chris Collins, Will Edgar-Gibson, Matthew Grenham, pupils and Matt Wardle, sports master. PNL-150801-112411009

But quick-thinking team mates Chris Collins and Matt Grenham, both 15, rushed to Will’s side and began performing CPR.

The courageous pair, who are cadets and both hope to join the forces after school, stayed by Will’s side until the air ambulance arrived to whisk him to hospital for emergency surgery.

Will returned to school on Monday but needed a day off on Tuesday to recover from the excitement.

“It’s good to be back,” he said.

“I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I am, which is nice. I met the guys as soon as I could to say thank you.

“Apparently I’ve had a heart condition since I was born but I’ve had it so often, I’ve just found it normal, and hadn’t noticed anything.”

Assistant headteacher Matt Wardle, who was taking the Year 10 PE lesson, called the ambulance and worked with the life-saving duo to give Will a chance of survival.

Modest Mr Wardle said: “These boys were just incredibly brave and confident.

“They are a real credit to the school – unbelievable.

“They were very calm and mature about it and the fact we have two students confident enough to be in that situation, speaks volumes about their character.

“It’s not something you drive into work expecting to happen but we are incredibly proud of how these boys acted and delighted Will has made a full recovery.”

The pair have been the talk of the playground since the incident just before Christmas and Matt, who hopes to join the RAF when he leaves school, said: “They (the paramedics) wouldn’t have arrived in time, quite simply.

“Quite a few people have come up to me to say well done for doing it and being in the cadets definitely gives you useful life skills.”

Will spent 10 days at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where he needed emergency surgery to freeze an abnormal heart pathway.

He was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome – an abnormally fast heartbeat – and had a monitor implanted to track the pace.

His mum Marianne, 46, who lives with Will in Aris Way in Buckingham, said: “I just want to thank the boys for their brave and courageous actions – it would have been a different story otherwise.

“I was called to say Will had been taken to John Radcliffe but I didn’t realise the seriousness of the situation.

“When I saw the air ambulance, I was in a complete state. I found out he had been taken away and I was told these two lads had helped him.

“He was in school for the first time on Monday but spent most of Tuesday sleeping – he was whacked.”

Chris and Matt were honoured in assembly by the school who presented the pair with certificates for their invaluable support.